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King Farm Blog

IKF Blog
Posted: Saturday, September 12, 2015

8 ways to get happier right now

Happiness is a choice. You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can choose how you react to it. People who are optimistic and see the good in the world dwell in a happy place more than those who approach life with a negative attitude.

Here’s just one example. You’re driving on the freeway, and traffic is at a near standstill. What do you think as you stop and go or move along at 10 mph? Some people choose to fume and get worked up about it. Others might see this as an opportunity to listen to a book on CD. If you’re in this situation and you’re going to be late for an appointment, you could stress about it, or you could call the person you’re supposed to meet to explain that you’re stuck in traffic and then enjoy singing along with a favorite album.

A number of studies have demonstrated that people seem to get better at this as they grow older: As people age, they tend to become happier and more satisfied with their lives.

A new study from researchers at Northwestern University and the University at Buffalo explored one possible reason why that seems to be true. That study found that older adults are more trusting, and that led to a greater sense of well-being.

The researchers surveyed nearly 200,000 people from 83 countries to study the link between age and trust. In a second study, they followed more than 1,200 Americans in three groups spanning ages 18 to 89 to see whether trust increased across age groups.

They found that increased levels of trust led to improvements in well-being and happiness. The researchers theorized that trusting other people encourages social relationships from which we derive support, comfort and pleasure.

The study, titled “Growing to Trust: Evidence That Trust Increases and Sustains Well-Being Across the Life Span,” was published in the August 2015 issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

Do you want to be happier right? Here are eight tried-and-true ways to add some happiness to your life.

  1. Practice kindness. Helping others makes you happier, even if you do it anonymously.
  2. Keep a gratitude journal. Writing down what you’re grateful for can make you more optimistic and even healthier.
  3. Get spiritual. People who attend services, participate in discussions about spirituality or practice activities such as meditation tend to be happier.
  4. Spend your money on experiences, not things. Sports events, concerts, theater performances and trips, especially when you share them with friends or family, let you focus on what’s happening now and provide lasting memories.
  5. When you do buy stuff, create experiences. For example, if you used to love playing the guitar, buy a new one and revisit your passion.
  6. Lose yourself in activities like hiking, writing, reading or learning are activities that require you to participate with your entire self and forget everything else.
  7. Learn from your mistakes. It might sound weird, but you can turn a mistake into a positive by taking the attitude that every failure gets you closer to success.
  8. Do what makes you happy. It might seem obvious, but you can lift your spirits with tired-and-true activities that make you happy. Pull out an art or craft project that you’ve enjoyed and work on it. Read a funny book or watch a comedy. Make a list of things that make you happy to refer to when you need it.
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